Whaleoil Transcript: Mike Hosking & Julie Anne Genter on cycleways

Newstalk ZB

Starts at 8:05

Mike

In the spirit of Christmas, let?s talk cycles and cycleways with Julie Anne Genter who is with us this morning, good morning.

Julie Anne

Good morning.

Mike

Now are we talking cycling or cycle lanes because cycling I am all for, cycle lanes I?m not.

Julie Anne

Okay. I? I think it?s absolutely fair to raise the question. Is this good value for money? Is it the right way to solve our transport problems? I think that?s really important, and as it turns out, cycle lanes are really effective ways of making sure that more people are able to cycle safely and that benefits the people who want to drive. It?s one of the best ways we can free up our roads for those people in need.

Mike

Do you honestly, honestly believe that? Every morning I leave this building and I turn right, then left then right then left and the reason I do that is I avoid a patch of road which has a cycle lane which is permanently buggered because you took a lane out with a cycle lane in and no one?s on the cycle lane but there are hundreds of cars going nowhere.? Every morning.

Julie Anne

So, it?s really counter-intuitive, right? Because people on a bike take up so much less space and move so much more efficiently through the city centre than people in a car. But most of the cars just have one person, right?

Mike

Yeah, but I know what you?re saying, and I get your logic, but when I see no one on the cycle lane I don?t care how counter-intuitive it is, there?s till no one on the cycle lane.

Julie Anne

Um? so, they?ve? we?ve got a lot of research, we?ve got a lot of data about the number of people using the cycle lanes and? and, in my opinion, this is just the beginning. If we want more people to use the cycle lanes, we need a more connected safe cycling network. Right now, we are just at the beginning of putting in that infrastructure and we?re already seeing really good uptake but the real potential is when we get that infrastructure ah? you know? further across the city. It means more people can use it and that is the key to making it possible for more people to use. Not just bicycles, I mean, we?re talking bikes, e-bikes, cargo bikes, um? wine scooters potentially?

Mike

Julie? Julie Anne, if there?s no one on there, there?s no one on there no matter what they?re trying to use.

Julie Anne

There?. trust me Mike there are people on there and?

Mike

There aren?t.

Julie Anne

…you can see the cars? and the traffic jams

Mike

The data?

Julie Anne

….Cars take up so much more room.

Mike

Yes, they do.

Julie Anne

Mike

No, I get all of that, I understand all of that. The data you are collecting, are these from those clicker/monitor things that you put on the cycle lanes, right?

Julie Anne

Yes, yes, the same way that we know what the traffic volumes are on the road.

Mike

Right. So, the people who are going to work or from work are they counted as one or two?

Julie Anne

Ah? just like with traffic volumes we count every movement.

Mike

So, it?s two? so, it?s two?

Julie Anne

And?

Mike

So, it?s two movements, one person?

Julie Anne

?percentage of movements on? on? well yes, it depends, because some people might not come and go the same way, you know, for example you might?

Mike

So, if I?m on a long journey and I might go past two of these things am I counted then as four? Two each time once I go past the counters and then the two on the way back so that?s four trips?

Julie Anne

But the? the really big picture isn?t how many people are using it now.

Mike

Oh.

Julie Anne

What is the potential?? What is the potential for??

Mike

But that is the problem Julie Anne.

Julie Anne

?more people to use bikes because that is one of the key most cost-effective ways, we can solve some of our traffic problems.

Mike

It is the potential but if the potential never is fulfilled you?ve spent millions of dollars on something that didn?t happen but all you?ve done in the meantime is upset people who didn?t want to use them in the first place.

Julie Anne

Well, we haven?t? I mean we?ve only spent a tiny percentage of the transport budget on it. I mean, like the cost of a cycleway compared to the cost of moving one person one kilometre in a car?

Mike

I get all that.

Julie Anne

Miniscule.

Mike

A hundred percent. Couldn?t agree with you more, but here?s the cold hard reality?

Julie Anne

A small percentage of the budget on cycling?

Mike

Sure. Cold hard reality.

Julie Anne

I mean, it is about giving people freedom of choice and right now most people don?t feel they have the freedom to cycle safely, particularly?

Mike

Well, that?s true.

Julie Anne

?particularly women and children because if they go out on the road, they feel like they?re gonna be killed. ?And not everybody wants to cycle but not everybody wants to drive either and if we can give them?

Mike

The freedom to choose? they?ve chosen not to though. This is the freedom of choice, you?ve used our money? you?ve used our money to build an infrastructure people are feeling free to choose not to use.? Now I can tell you? well when it is complete

Julie Anne

It’s not complete yet…we don?t have many separated cycleways.

Mike

We?ve got hundreds of cycleways all over the place. Tell you what I did see last night. I was out at a concert and across the road from Spark Arena, I don?t want to make this all about Auckland but across the road from Spark Arena is a footpath that?s been turned into a cycleway that you can presumably be a pedestrian and a cyclist on a footpath. That?s useable and friendly and it doesn?t impede on traffic. If we had more of those that would be fantastic but we don?t. The moment you take away a lane you?re? you?re upsetting motorists because the fact is, like it or not, and you don?t, but there?s four million cars in this country. We have bought more cars this year than we?ve ever bought in the history of NZ. We love cars.

Julie Anne

Well, I mean? no I?ll say that it?s true that some people love cars and some people want to drive and we should enable them to drive but there?s also a huge percentage of kiwis who have a car because they have no other choice and until we have a complete separated cycle network they won?t feel safe to cycle and we know that from the research and we know that from the research overseas that when you put in place that safe infrastructure more people cycle, more women cycle, more kids cycle and you end up with a country like the Netherlands eventually where it?s the best country in the world? rated the best country in the world to be a motorist because what is impeding traffic isn?t people on bikes or cycle lanes it?s too many people in cars. That?s what causing the (unintelligible).

Mike

Would you concede to a degree anyway that the reason that people are in cars, apart from the fact that they like cars, and you back that up by the number of cars people are buying, but also lifestyle. And the simple fact is that people with kids ah? with schools and gear and sports and events and jobs and life need to be able to get about the place efficiently and cars are the most efficient way of doing it and that?s why you choose to use a car.

Julie Anne

Ah? you absolutely right. Right now, in order to have the lifestyle people want um? they have to use a car. But that?s in a way, taking away a choice from them and it?s causing traffic at very high cost to provide the sort of infrastructure that will enable every trip to be in a car. But it?s important to think? everyone?s different, right? So, I mean there?s a huge percentage of people who really want to use a car and there?s also a big percentage of people who would happily use public transport, walk or cycle if it were convenient for them. And so, what we?re doing now is that very cost-effective investment because ultimately making it convenient and safe for more people to cycle, to use public transport, to walk to use pushchairs, use scooters, whatever it is?? mobility scooters? all of that is cheaper ah? than

Mike

It is cheaper. No one arguing. I think fundamentally you are missing the point. You are missing the point because yes, it?s cheaper, there?s no question a bike is cheaper than a car, no question, but people have chosen, are choosing, do choose on a daily basis to incur the cost of a car?

Recording ends

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